Erika

Out and About

Last week was such a busy one! Michael was dealing with fixing the car and stuff from the break-in. It ended up being a bigger hassle than we expected. Not only did no shops in Portland have the specific glass window for his car, but when they ordered it and tried to install it last week, they ended up referring him to a body shop to finish it. What a mess!!

Despite that, I had a pretty good week. I got to see some friends I hadn’t seen in awhile because of all the drama and the wedding planning appointments we had. I feel bad for neglecting my friends!

The Red Fig

I met my great friend Robyn at The Red Fig for dinner. I had a Groupon deal for it and had never been there before. It sounded like an interesting menu. I headed over after work; the night was really dark and the fog was thick. The kind of fog that makes it difficult to see much in front of the car. I drove through NE Portland, not too familiar with the area, and after driving around in circles a little but, finally found it. The restaurant was really cute! It looked like it was in an old craftsman style home that had been remodeled into a restaurant.

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It was still happy hour for a few minutes so we ordered some jalapeno poppers. I was not a fan. They weren’t what I was expecting and I kind of prefer Michael’s. The jalapenos were cut in half and then filled with melted cheese. Sounds pretty good, but fell flat.

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The menu sounded really good. There were a lot of things that appealed to me, especially the Thai Peanut Chicken Pasta Salad but it was such a cold, gloomy night that I wanted something warm and not a cold salad. I ordered the Panang Curry dish with chicken.

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It wasn’t very spicy, which was disappointing. It could have used some bite. But the flavors were really subtle and delicious. The curry and the sesame/peanut flavors all worked well together. I ate half of my dish and saved the rest for lunch. It was a satisfying meal, even if it could have used some spice.

The Doug Fir

The next night, Tuesday, was Michael’s office holiday party. This year it was at The Doug Fir. They closed off the basement concert area for the private party and there were drinks and hors d’oeuvres and three bands played.  I haven’t been to the Doug Fir in ages. I used to go quite a lot to see various Portland bands I was a fan of. It was cool to go back. It’s a neat space and decorated like a log cabin:

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We stayed long enough to hear some of the second band, Ask You In Gray , which I hadn’t heard of but loved! They were a duo and played like electronic-pop-dance-type music. They sounded a lot like Erasure. It was fun!

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But boy, was I tired by the end of the night.

The Lutz Tavern

I met up with my other friend Erika at this bar in Woodstock. I’d never been to it, nor heard of it, but it was a cute divey-type bar that looks like it used to be an old diner.

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It had diner-style seating at the bar and comfortable booths, plus a pool-table and jukebox. It wasn’t very crowded when we got there but it filled up fast and seemed like it was a popular neighborhood joint. They had a great beer list. I was super excited that they had my favorite beer on tap, Boneyard IPA. I happily got a pint. It’s been ages since I’ve had it. They also had Omission (gluten-free beer).

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I got the Lutz Burger with tots. The tots were probably the best I’ve ever had. They were perfectly cooked, not mushy on the inside and the outside was crispy and delicious–almost like a fried chicken exterior. The burger was pretty darn good, too, and it was only $8. I’d definitely go back here for some beers and burgers.

I also got the best present. 🙂 My VERY OWN BIG CARL!

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cougartown_240Thank you very much, Erika! 😀

Social Hour

With Michael in Seattle for work, I made a ton of plans with my friends. My solo weekend included a much needed pedicure with my cousin Anna, I bought tickets for the Fleetwood Mac concert coming this June, and I went out to dinner with my friend Erika on Saturday night. We went to Stickers Asian Cafe and I was able to successfully stay on the diet. I narrowed down the entrees I knew I could eat (they had rice or rice noodles and no dairy in it) and asked the waitress if the yakisoba noodles were made with wheat (according to the internet it could be gluten-free but sometimes the noodles were made with wheat). The waitress did one better: she brought me a list of their gluten-free, soy-free, and wheat-free items that were on the menu. That made it even easier picking something. Thankfully I was able to get some noodles that were gluten-free!

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Erika and I ended up going across the street after dinner to Kay’s to continue the evening. Kay’s was a cute but divey bar in Sellwood with cheap drinks and your typical greasy bar food. I got a glass of wine at Kay’s and before I knew it, Erika and I had been talking and hanging out for hours. It was nearing midnight and we started to wind things down.

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On Sunday I did a little baking. I wanted to share this recipe with you because it was so good! I don’t know what website I found it from, or I’d share the link here. The print outs usually include the source but this one did not.

Copycat Chocolate Crunch Bars

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: About 6

Calories per serving: About 100

Adapted from 3 Ingredient Chocolate Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup rice crispies
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
  • Sweetener to taste (I used agave)
  • Dash of salt

Instructions

  1. Combine coconut oil and sweetener. Stir, and add cocoa powder and rice crispies. If needed, add 3 tablespoons water or milk if using stevia as sweetener. Stir until it gets thick.
  2. Pour into a flat container. Freeze until solid. Store in the freezer.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=36940

This dessert was really easy and fast to make. It only made about 6 servings so if you are making this for a party, you might want to double the recipe. While I was making this recipe I kept thinking, “This isn’t going to make very much…”

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It doesn’t look very photogenic, I apologize, but I guarantee you it’s delicious. I put it in a little tupperware container lined with wax paper and put it in the freezer. It was in there for about an hour or two and then I sampled it. 🙂

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Since it was frozen, I broke off a chunk and was so happy to see that it was ready to eat. IT WAS SO GOOD. I finally found a gluten and dairy free dessert that is absolutely fantastic and does not taste fake. It was definitely not unsatisfying like some of the other dairy/gluten-free desserts I’ve tried so far.

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It tasted just like a Nestle Crunch bar made out of dark chocolate. Even if I don’t continue doing the dairy-free thing, I will most definitely make this dessert on a regular basis. I cannot express how rich and good it was!

After making the dessert, I cut up a ton of veggies for the week and also got things ready for my first book club meeting. I’ve never been in a book club before but I’ve wanted to for a long time. This was our first meeting. A bunch of friends came over to my house and we talked about “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy.

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The snacks I had were: homemade guacamole with carrots, celery and gluten-free crackers. I also put out some store bought hummus (I ran out of time and couldn’t make my own) and some grapes. It was kind of a weird time (4-6) so by the time the meeting was over and it was dinner time I’d pretty much eaten a dinner of crackers and guacamole. 🙂 I ended up having a bowl of cereal a few hours later and called it a night. Not the healthiest of meals but oh well!

The book club meeting was a lot of fun. It was my first time participating in one, as was it for most of my friends. Thankfully one friend, Debby, had been part of one before and she got the ball rolling. It was funny because the discussion was pretty thoughtful about the book but we ended up going into long discussions about The Walking Dead and other books and movies that had similar post-apocalyptic themes like “The Road” did.

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My holiday weekend ended with another Body Pump class (I finally felt like I belonged in the class because I could keep up and anticipate the moves) and then acupuncture. What a fun weekend! All weekends should be like that.

QUESTION: Do you have any book recommendations for my next book club to read?